Saturday, August 29, 2009

future food

Here's a speculation about the future of food, by Philips Design's Probes team, featuring a food printer that lets you compose your own meals nutrient by nutrient, and a complete food generating fishtank/ecosystem for in the home. The overall idea here is to go from a world where people are alienated from their food by mass production-based top-down infrastructures to one where the consumer is an intrinsic part of it and thus gets reconnected with his nutrition. I love this idea, plus the way it is presented in this DIY-videomaking fashion that greatly fits the overall message. What I like less about this vision is the analytical basis on which people interact with their food. Sure, this would be wonderful in making people more aware of things, but I actually think it draws them further away from truly, in an embodied way, reconnecting with their food. We already can get all this information about our food, but treating food like a collection of numbers, and our body as part of a mathematical formula that needs to be resolved so the outcome is 'healthy', in my opinion is not contributing to a reconnection. I believe in directly changing the embodied actions we use towards our food more than connecting us deeper on a mental, insight level. I believe that to truly reconnect, we must learn to select and concentrate, meditate on our food, and focus only on eating when we are eating. In this information-saturated age multi-tasking is the tempting and often even collectively valued strategy, but this actually alienates us further and makes us clueless as to what we are really doing. If we connect in a somatic way with our food, learn to feel it, to perceive it in full awareness, even learning to read its natural intentions from a microscopic to a macroscopic level, then we will truly reconnect. A step in this direction is for example Lissa Kooijman's Eetmeet interactive plate that provides a temporal chewing guidance pattern in the form of subtle lights. 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the Enicycle

Another step towards the oneness of man and technology has been made with Aleksander Polutnik's Enicycle, a motorized unicycle! Controlling this thing works by leaning forward, and as such it intuitively engages your body as a whole.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

hybrid robot locomotion

What a dream that is, having wheels instead of feet.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Honey can you bring me a beer, and print out my new heart for tomorrow please?

So in some years from now, we'll be able to recreate our own body using our own inkjet printer.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

the conscious technology civilization

"In this worldview we are seeking the merger of the mystic and the technocrat to achieve an altogether new civilization. When this happens in the 21st century we will have a world renaissance that could properly be called the "Conscious Technology Civilization…There will be many views of the mutual creation of consciousness and technology, but the core view will be determined by the future relationship of "mystics" or the masters of consciousness and the "technocrats" or the masters of technology… it is possible to merge such different world views, if the merger is with the mystic's attitude toward the world and the technocrat's knowledge of the world. Conscious Technology can be understood as the worldview that civilization will evolve into a continuum of technology and humanity by the integration of technology with our bodies and our bodies with technology and that this integration will be improved to the degree that mystic and technocrat worldviews merge."

- Jerome C. Glenn in "Future Mind: Artificial Intelligence – Merging the Mystical and the Technological in the 21st Century", 1989

This is about the best general description of our transhumanist future as what I call 'cosmic cyborgs' that I have come across up to now.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

now you can taste like bacon

In my experience, life is a process of refining and evolving the memes your actions are based on towards higher, more integral states of being. This does not mean that the memes we used to thrive by before disappear; instead they serve as a platform for the higher ones to emerge. Then if at some point we lose touch with the highest meme we live by, we always have the lower ones as anchor point and we can relapse towards them. But how big a relapse back to the summit of consumerism is this? Dead animals now become branded as objects to smear onto one's body for the intimate indulgence in the grandiose smell and taste of killed meat. This is not the Simpsons, it's real: buy it at, 13 bucks for a four pack.

Monday, August 3, 2009

spherical robot

May this mess up your concept of the world being governed by laws of physics.

run robot run

So now Toyota Motor Corporation has built a robot that can run 7 mph. An impressive technical feat, and quite expectable that we would see something like this soon. Still this thing can't outrun us and agility-wise it basically looks as if it's speeding to the crapper, a hint of leopardlikeness nowhere to be spotted. I can't help but give this kind of anthropomimicry a smirk sometimes. I mean, it's all interesting and in the end we will have something that looks like a human, but aha, it's not. And then what? We also need to explore how interacting with them is valuable and enriching, and the only fragment of interaction shown here is a human being challenging the robot's abilities by aggressively trying to push him over.

there's some meat dancing to the beat down the street

Meat Market from Joan Healy on Vimeo.

Some pretty bizarre experimental work by Joan Healy. I mean I know we want to reprogram life, but isn't it a bit of a circumventive approach to first kill an animal and then try to bring its parts alive again in other ways? It's interesting to see though how the material aesthetics of products could change, and to explore the relationship between material and its behavior both as a communicative channel and as a way to afford richer physical interaction. I mean, look at that slab of flesh pulsate at the end of the movie, that looks greatly deep and refined, even when just hooked up to 2 servo drives.